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News » UK » Capital plan for upward extensions » published 18 Feb 2016

Capital plan for upward extensions

The government is consulting on proposals to relax planning constraints on tall buildings in London.

London Above: London

The proposals* could not only ease the way for more tower blocks but could also pave the way for all those wealthy basement-excavating Londoner to add extensions on top too.

The consultation is being conducted jointly by the Department for Communities & Local Government and the Mayor of London’s office. The idea is that by building ‘up’, demand for more housing in the capital can be met without having to build ‘out’ and concrete over the green belt.

However, the consultation is less about tower blocks than what might be an appropriate upward extension for an existing house.

It suggests three possible ways in which storeys can be added to existing buildings:

  • a London-wide permitted development right, with a prior approval, for up to two additional storeys, up to the roofline of an adjoining building
  • planning policies in the London Plan to support upward extensions for new homes
  • boroughs making local development orders to grant planning permission to extend upwards for all or part of their area, or for particular types of buildings.

On average, since 2008, London has had 25,000 additional homes each year. The current London Plan calls for 49,000 additional homes per year. Piling them high might help a bit, subject to certain conditions.

British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech said: “Today’s proposals are not going to deliver an enormous amount of new homes, but could prove a helpful tool which will encourage innovation and the more efficient use of space. 

“Similar to office to residential permitted development rights, this is a policy that will show results in some areas, such as the outskirts of London, and be less helpful in others. Central London boroughs are unlikely to see much change as the number of listed buildings and conservation areas will prohibit large numbers of proposals coming forwards. However, outer London boroughs could see a rise in new residential property. 

“We are pleased to see that one of the options suggested allows local boroughs to make decisions using local development orders as in many cases, local boroughs are best placed to consider the most appropriate options for their area.”


* Consultation on upward extensions in London: See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/501191/Consultation_on_Upward_Extensions_in_London.pdf




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This article was published on 18 Feb 2016 (last updated on 18 Feb 2016).

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